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Can You Really Flush Flushable Wipes?

Advancements in the personal hygiene and toiletry industries have done well to make standard bathroom activities more convenient, comfortable, efficient, and, when necessary, aromatic. However, these innovative and attractive bathroom accessories are not without their share of drawbacks and can often be harmful to infants, pets, people with illnesses, plumbing systems, and the environment.

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Flushable Wipes: A Blessing

Baby wipes have been around for ages, so it isn’t to say that cleansing wipes are a brand new concept. However, sales for toilet wipes in particular have grown exponentially for household use since they began being advertised as “flushable” and marketed towards both male and female adults. Upon the wipes’ sudden popularity, consumers flocked to their local grocers and drugstores to try out this affordable yet luxury bathroom product. For many, the wipes have become a weekly grocery list item that is as regularly purchased as toilet paper, bread, and milk.

Flushable Wipes: A Curse

Since the wipes’ rise to fame in the personal care industry, a big and concerning discovery has been made. The word ‘flushable’ that accompanies the product’s name, which has given millions of consumers peace of mind that the product is safe to flush, comes with a caveat: The wipes are flushable in that they are able to be flushed, but they are not able to be flushed safely or without posing a real threat to the environment.

So how is a product that is used in the comfort and privacy of your own home such a hazard to the world outside of it? Your plumbing system carries the water and waste from your bathroom fixtures and diverts it to respective areas, many of which are directly connected to our ecosystem and play a vital role in our health and safety as human beings.

How “Flushable” Wipes Can Damage Plumbing Systems

Professionals in the plumbing industry, as well as environmental health and safety authorities, have established and continually work to champion efforts to make homeowners aware of the disruptive and costly implications related to these cleansing wipes:

  • Although some of the contents that make up the wipes will break down over time, the products have never been certified as 100% biodegradable. [Source]
  • There have been many cases where wipes have formed massive buildups in otherwise efficient plumbing systems, confirming that there doesn’t need to be an existing issue with your plumbing for these wipes to cause damage.
  • If the wipes do make it out of your home’s plumbing system, that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t cause damage elsewhere. This specific product has made global news headlines for causing “fatbergs”, which is defined as a congealed mass that develops in a sewer system that is formed by the consolidation of non-biodegradable matter – like “flushable” wipes – and congealed cooking fat or grease.

In making these efforts, industry experts encourage safer environmental practices, increase public awareness on the dangers of flushing the wipes, and potentially save homeowners from the financial burden of having to suddenly replace their plumbing system.

Professional Clog Removal in Maryland

If you or a family member have used any variety of “flushable” cleansing wipes in your home and have since experienced clogs or similar indications that there could be a larger issue, reach out to local plumbing experts Michael Runk Plumbing and Heating and have them perform an inspection as soon as possible. Doing so could be the difference between spending a sensible amount on an inspection or simple repair and having to unexpectedly shell out thousands of dollars to have your plumbing system replaced. Contact us to schedule fast and reliable service on clogs and any other plumbing issues you encounter.

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